What you need to know when cooking with your slow or multi cooker.
By Belinda Castles
Research Writer | Kaituhi Rangahau
Slow cookers (and the slow cooking setting on multi-cookers) cook food at a low enough temperature to be left unattended for hours. But the food must reach a core temperature of at least 60°C to kill harmful bacteria.
All the cookers we’ve tested produce food that's safe to eat – provided you follow the cooker's instructions and food-safety practices.
Cooking and safety tips
To cook food slowly and safely:
Boil dried beans for at least 10 minutes before slow cooking to
destroy toxins which will otherwise survive the lower temperatures of
a slow cooker.
Always completely thaw frozen meat, poultry or vegetables before
putting them in the cooker.
Vegetables cook the slowest, so place them at the bottom and sides of
the pot and then add the meat.
Don't overload the cooker – fill it to about half its capacity
(two-thirds at most).
Don't take off the lid during cooking unless the recipe recommends
it. Removing the lid lets heat and moisture escape, so you will have
to extend the cooking time.
Add dairy products, fish or seafood when you get home – or within the
last half-hour of cooking.
Don't leave cooked food to cool down completely in the bowl or pan.
It should cool at room temperature for 2 hours and then go into the
Never reheat leftovers in your slow cooker – use a microwave,
cooktop, or oven.
If there's a power cut while you're out, check the temperature of the
food with a meat thermometer. If it's lower than 70°C, it's probably
not safe to eat.
Slow and multi-cookers tested
The faster your life, the better a slow cooker looks.